Friday, July 22, 2011

Wanted: Alternative Playlists....

Couple of my favorite bloggers did a bit recently on radio stations that play the same songs over&over:
My buddy Rastro over at LA HISTORIA speculated that hearing the same songs repeatedly might work as "comfort food" 4 listeners in their 30s, 40s & 50s (and Ghod knows even older) who might already have 2 much on their minds. I think he could B right.
The mindset of my buddy Crabby at CRABBY'S TOP TEN SITE is closer 2 mine & might best B Dscribed as: WHY DO THEY PLAY THE SAME SHIT OVER AND OVER?!
Here's why this discussion has gotten me thinking recently:
I've started playing the radio more & more often at work lately after resisting it 4 YEARS. (I figured I could space-out just fine without any help, so why would I need the radio?) But lately I've found the radio does keep me bouncing around & DEFinitely improves my mood if it's a bad nite or the coffee just ain't workin no more.
& sometimes I turn it up REALLY LOUD.
I bounce around Btween 4 or 5 diffrent FM stations: Seattle's "Star 101.5," current hits + a few oldies dating back in2 the '90s; KZOK 102.5, Seattle's "Classic Rock" station; my fave Oldies station KMCQ; "Cafe" 104.1, which is SORT OF soft-rock; & "The Mountain" 103.5, which is mostly newer stuff + some things I can't identify.
U'd think with those 5 stations pretty close 2gether I wouldn't havta waste much time trying 2 find something good, something motivational, something I hadn't heard lately.
And you'd B wrong.
In the hours I listen, Btween 9 pm & midnight, I spend more time twiddling the knob trying 2 find something ELSE than I do actually LISTENING.
KZOK, tho I love 'em, sounds like they coulda bn programmed in some1's sleep. You can predict their "Classic Rock" playlist. They very seldom play anything suprising.
KMCQ, now that I've gotten used 2 them, seldom get 2 shocking either -- tho they HAVE played Sugar Loaf's "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" & Gladys Knight & the Pips' version of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" a coupla times each this week. But they R WAY more likely 2 fall back on "Billy, Don't Be a Hero," "The Night Chicago Died," & "What's New, Pussycat?" I haven't heard them repeat Small Faces' "Lazy Sunday." But they DID play Procol Harum's "Homburg" awhile back....
Cafe 104.1 has a weakness 4 Earth, Wind and Fire's "After the Love Has Gone" (great song, but NOT daily) -- but they also played Kelly Clarkson's "I'm Already Gone," which knocked me over awhile back.
"The Mountain" might play anything from unidentified acoustic folk 2 U2 or Train.
You'd think these stations with their at-least-slightly varied 4mats would give me a fairly wide spectrum of tunes 2 work 2. Maybe. But over the past coupla weeks, here's a few of the songs I've heard MULTIPLE times, without even trying....

Led Zeppelin: Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Fool in the Rain, Rock and Roll, Immigrant Song, Livin' Lovin' Maid (She's Just a Woman).
Derek and the Dominoes: Layla.
Fleetwood Mac: Oh Well (full version). (Wonder if KZOK thinks they're Bing brave & daring by playing this heavy-metal-blues-into-guitar-fantasia piece? It IS a classic, & Peter Green was a real strange guy....)
Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody, Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
David Bowie: Let's Dance, Young Americans. (But "Suffragette City" was nice....)
Deep Purple: Smoke on the Water. (Tho "Hush" & "Kentucky Woman" were both great 2 hear.)
Boston: More Than a Feeling.
Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home Alabama.
Paul McCartney/Wings: Band on the Run, Maybe I'm Amazed.
Foreigner: Cold as Ice.
Tom Petty: Refugee (what else?).
Pink Floyd: Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, Money.
Bob Dylan: Knocking on Heaven's Door, Positively 4th Street.
Eagles: Take it Easy, Hotel California.
Who: Won't Get Fooed Again, Love Reign O'er Me, The Real Me. (Also heard "The Kids are Alright" & "Call Me Lightning," nice suprises both.)
Rush: Limelight, The Spirit of Radio.
CeeLo: Forget You. (Is this right? It's 2 current 4 me to be sure....)
American Breed: Bend Me Shape Me.

...How'd that last 1 get in there? Anyway, don't get me wrong. It's not that these Rn't great songs ... some of them. It's just: How much is ANYONE going 2 get out of hearing "Smoke on the Water" ONE MORE TIME? Or "Hotel California"? Or "Cold as Ice"? Why's it so hard 2 try something new?
Course radio stations have bills 2 pay 2 -- & these days especially they probly can't afford 2 have 2 many listeners tune-out Bcos they played the "wrong" Elton John song (my pick: "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" -- uggghhh....)
So maybe what we need isn't new song choices so much as a new format.
The kinda format that would make Crabby & I happier isn't out there right now -- a format that would allow 4 oldies from the '50s 2 the best current stuff. Hits & album trax. Rock & Pop & R&B & Soul & Disco & Jazz & Country & Folk. Could probly throw in some Rap & HipHop 2. Loud & soft, heavy & lite, electric & acoustic.
& would such a format stretch listeners' ears & tastes Byond the breaking point?
& if so, WHY?
Why is it such a problem 2 B suprised, Dlighted with something that comes outta the radio?
How about NO format? Just let some1 who's a music fan pick what goes on the air. I heard they tried this 1nce a few years back at college radio stations -- & we Nded up with a "college rock" 4mat.... & wasn't that "underground" stuff back in the '60s all about on-air DJ's picking their own stuff...?
Look, I love "Stairway to Heaven," really. It still sounds great -- at least everything from Jimmy Page's gtr-fanfare that leads in2 the meltdown solo near the end. The passion still comes across. Same with "Layla." I'll never get tired of that gtr&keyboard closing section.
But NOT BOTH of them 2wice a nite. 3 nites in a row. On 2 diffrent stations.
Zeppelin's got LOTS of other great stuff. & I don't just mean "Kashmir." It would take a bigger Zep fan than me 2 pick out some great overlooked Zep trax (I'll bet Drew over at ODDS AND SODS could come up with a list REAL fast). But I haven't heard "The Rover" in awhile, or "When the Levee Breaks," or "Good Times Bad Times"....
MayB the problem isn't the song choices so much as developing a wider-open 4mat that a radio station wouldn't B scared 2 try. MayB a 4mat that highlights the artists' work-in-depth rather than the same old classic hits.
Imagine some friendly-voiced DJ saying: "Your favorite artists .... Their greatest songs .... Now on KTAD" -- for instance....
...It's either this or I start taking a stack of CDs with me 2 work & scare the shit out of EVERYBODY....

(Sat, 23 July 11, 1:40 am -- Overnite & at work 2nite I thot of a few more songs that've bn overplayed while I've bn listening over the past coupla wks. These were added B4 I read NE comments:
Peter Gabriel: In Your Eyes.
Coldplay: Clocks.
Queen: Somebody to Love.
Madonna: Borderline, Lucky Star, Into the Groove.
Beatles: Here Comes the Sun.
Train: Drops of Jupiter.
Police: Walking on the Moon.
Bruce: Born to Run.
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds: Don't Pull Your Love (!).
Sade: Smooth Operator.
Simon and Garfunkel: The Boxer.
...Again, it's not that some of these aren't great songs, it's just ... well, why's everything so OBVIOUS? What's wrong with Bing suprised 1nce in awhile...?)

COMING NEXT: An "alternate playlist" of great trax by classic rockers, based on stuff I've got around the house. But not the same old stuff....


R S Crabb said...

Hey TAD, you know how I feel about the same 200 songs that our radio stations continue to torture us. Long time ago I didn't mind hearing Crazy On You or Sweet Home Alabama but it's gotten to the point that I get sick n tired of hearing these Comfort songs. We can blame Lee Abrams and his playlist of 1985 to which sounded fresh at the time but since there's hardly any changes the more adventureous such as you and me get burned out easily. It's pretty bad when i get carpel tunnel from punching the FM buttons trying to find a something that won't make me pull my hair out. Or worse, stuck with a crap station like KDAT here and having them play shit that I cannot stand.

We live in a era that's we have all this music out there and the playlist gets less and less. Once upon a time our local DJ would play an album cut but no more. That is if we're lucky to have a local DJ playing the stuff he thinks we would like to hear rather than Hotel California or Bohemian Rhapsody being played at the same time on 2 different radio stations. It's ridiclous.

drewzepmeister said...

When I was out in LA two summers ago, I was introduced to 103 The Sound. Not a bad station at all...They do a whole album side on Wednesdays.

Admittedly, radio stations overplay the same tired and true tune over and over. If I hear "Purple Haze" one more time I'll go postal. Then again, I've spoken to the DJ's from WILL from Kenosha and they are not the ones whom make up the playlists. It's the advertisers that do. It's all about the money. Kinda sucks though.

Songs I would like to hear on the radio more often:

Yes "Close to the Edge"
Rush "Natural Science"
Led Zeppelin "The Battle of Evermore"
Badfinger "Better Days"
Aerosmith "Rats in the Cellar"
Queen "Keep Yourself Alive"
Beatles "Across the Universe"
Rolling Stones "Torn and Frayed"
Iron Maiden "Rhime of the Ancient Mariner"
Drivin' n' Cryin' "Straight to Hell"
Grateful Dead "Franklin's Tower"
Blue Oyster Cult "Shooting Shark"
Santana "Europa"
Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam "Tear Down the Walls"

That's the tip of the iceberg...